The National Grocers Association Foundation’s (NGAF) recently completed 2021 Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), a four-day program offering a mix of interactive leadership instruction and personalized coaching, marked the event’s return to an in-person format after virtual leadership training last year. The 2021 program, held June 6-10 at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., featured 31 participants encompassing a wide variety of companies and titles.
Among the program topics were leadership theory and practice, leadership assessments, one-on-one coaching, leadership versus management, leveraging human assets, reconnecting with strategy, a leadership case study, a groupthink exercise and development action planning.
“It was inspiring to meet and connect with so many diverse leaders from across the country, and I look forward to following the members of this year’s class as they progress in their leadership journeys,” said Maggie White, NGAF director. “The combination of faculty, industry leaders, coaching and interactive exercises is well designed to make you think and give you actionable feedback and ideas.”
Charles Choi, the recipient of this year's PepsiCo Diversity in Leadership Scholarship, was one of the attendees. NGAF teamed with Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo to create the Leadership Endowment following the completion of the virtual 2020 Head Start program. Choi is managing director of his family’s independent supermarket business on New York’s Long Island, Fruit Tree Farm, which is affiliated with the Port Washington, N.Y.-based Associated Supermarket Group (ASG).
“The 2021 NGA Executive Leadership Development Program at Cornell University was an impactful and memorable learning experience for me,” said Choi. “Through a combination of interactive lectures, self-assessment and peer networking, the program provided a framework to become an effective and successful leader. I enjoyed how the program offered the opportunity to learn and interact amongst a group of supermarket industry professionals from different parts of the country. Although our roles and experiences vary, it was clear to me that we all shared the same leadership challenges as well as the desire for improvement. I believe the insights, perspectives and tools gained from this program will prove to be invaluable in my leadership journey.”
The 2021 ELDP graduates are as follows:
- Sara Baldwin, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (dba Food City)
- Kimberly Cates, Associated Wholesale Grocers
- Johnny Chapman, Harps Food Stores Inc.
- Charles Choi, Fruit Tree Farm (ASG)
- Peter Coborn, Coborn’s Inc.
- Kimberly Eggler, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. Inc.
- Kate Favrow, Associated Wholesale Grocers
- Christopher Gibson, Ravitz Family Markets (Wakefern)
- Justin Gulla, Ravitz Family Markets (Wakefern)
- Hydie Hale, Harps Food Stores
- Josh Hamill, Woodman’s Food Market Inc.
- Christina Henry, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc. (Wakefern)
- Kevin Holland, Brookshire Grocery Co.
- Jay Holmes, Brookshire Grocery Co.
- Tanisha Jones, Associated Wholesale Grocers
- Rob Jones, Charley Family Shop N Save
- William Meyer, Wakefern Food Corp.
- Katie Penny, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (dba Food City)
- Molly Pfaffenroth, National Grocers Association
- Lori Price Abrams, Wakefern Food Corp.
- Doug Ringer, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc. (Wakefern)
- Drew Saluga, Columbiana Foods Inc. (dba Giant Eagle)
- Chelsea Stanton, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc. (Wakefern)
- Chris Sturdevant, Woodman’s Food Market Inc.
- Ayana Summerville, Wakefern Food Corp.
- Sarah Thacker, Harps Food Stores
- Justyne Uribe, Certco Inc.
- Justin Wallschlager, Sendik’s Food Market
- Seth Wertz, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc. (Wakefern)
- Maggie White, National Grocers Association
- Alex Yanuzzelli, Wakefern Food Corp.
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate nearly 280 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The company is No. 23 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 listing of North America’s top retailers of food and consumables, while Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers, serving 1,100 independent grocer member companies and 3,000-plus locations from eight wholesale divisions. is No. 36; Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, with more than 470 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana, is No. 37; Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co., a regional family-owned grocery business operating more than 180 stores in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, whose banners include Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, FRESH by Brookshire’s and Spring Market, is No. 62; Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T, Food City’s parent company, with 134 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and Alabama, is No. 70; Janesville, Wis.-based Woodman’s, operating 19 employee-owned grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, is No. 85; and St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s Inc., an employee-owned grocery retailer with more than 9,000 employees and 58 grocery stores in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin under the Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods, Marketplace Foods and Hornbacher’s banners, as well as stand-alone convenience, liquor and pharmacy locations, is No. 86.
NGAF is the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the Arlington, Va.-based National Grocers Association, which represents the independent sector of the grocery industry. The foundation gives independent retailers the tools to develop more effective recruiting programs, improve retention efforts and strengthen professional leadership development opportunities for employers.